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Lawyer of Russian on trial in Ukraine robbed before disappearance — military prosecutor

March 21, 2016, 16:31 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukrainian lawyer Yuri Grabovsky is representing the interests of Russian citizen Alexander Aleksandrov detained in war-torn Donbass

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Alexander Aleksandrov

Alexander Aleksandrov

© Maxim Pab/TASS

KIEV, March 21. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office has established that Ukrainian lawyer Yuri Grabovsky representing the interests of detained Russian citizen Alexander Aleksandrov in court was robbed shortly before his disappearance, Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios said on Monday.

"The identity of the person who withdrew all money from Grabovsky’s bankcard has been identified. Also, this person and also other people forcefully brought Grabovsky to Kiev where they withdrew a large sum of money from the safe at his place of work," Matios said, adding this person had been detained by law-enforcement bodies.

According to Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor, after Grabovsky was abducted, the criminals seized his mobile phone and left for Egypt.

Kiev's Goloseevsky district court had to adjourn again on March 15 the hearing into the case of Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev over the absence of Aleksandrov’s lawyer Grabovsky who had mysteriously disappeared on March 6.

Grabovsky’s colleagues have established that the lawyer was in Odessa on March 5 and returned to his Kiev office the following day, after which no one saw him. His personal belongings were found in hotel Arcadia in Odessa while a notice on the lawyer’s behalf was posted on his page in a social network saying he had left the country for security reasons.

The Odessa police and Kiev’s Goloseevsky court have opened a criminal case under the "premeditated murder" article over Grabovsky’s disappearance.

Lawyer for the second detained Russian Oksana Sokolovskaya told TASS on March 10 she was sure that Grabovsky’s disappearance was related to the court’s hearings on the case and that the materials on the defense for the Russian nationals in court had disappeared together with Grabovsky.

The Odessa police said earlier they had identified the person who had left the last message on Grabovsky’s Facebook page.

"The identity of the person who left a message on the personal Facebook page has been established. According to preliminary information, this was not Grabovsky," the press office of the Odessa Region Main National Police Department told TASS on March 11.

The Odessa police also said Grabovsky had not left the country.

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. They are accused of illegal border crossing, illegal possession of arms and involvement in terrorist activity.

Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention."

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev say they are not guilty on any of the charges. According to their lawyers, the two men should be considered prisoners of war as both of them were members of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) when they were detained.

If found guilty in Ukraine, the Russians may be sentenced for life.

The lawyers say the trial should be organized in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

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